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Parks, trees neglected

EDITOR: I was pleased to see that fire stations will be fully staffed as Santa Rosa's finances improve ("Fire crews at full strength," Saturday). Now I would like to urge the City Council to work on re-establishing other important services that have been cut to the bone. Parks and trees come to mind. The city has millions invested in more than 50 parks and tens of thousands of street trees. Maintenance for these have been cut by 75 percent during the Great Recession. In parks, fields, lawns, restrooms, irrigation, lighting, playgrounds, furniture, pavement and landscaping are suffering from major neglect. Many parks are kept useable only by amazing volunteers.

The street-tree situation is even worse. With only three tree maintenance specialists, only emergencies are addressed. Street-tree maintenance has been abandoned to property owners. Instances of poor and dangerous pruning and neglect are apparent everywhere. Our "Tree City" designation will soon become a hollow slogan.

Though not as noticeable as our public safety services, park and tree maintenance is critical to millions of dollars of city investments. Neglect will cost a fortune in the future, be destructive to our quality of life and our property values and have a permanent negative impact on our city.

WILLIAM MONTGOMERY

Santa Rosa

Religion's place

EDITOR: Phil Arnold ("Are we too tolerant?" Letters, May 2) wrote: "Perhaps religion does provide cover for the cancerous growth of radical extremism justified by the 'will of God.' "

Arnold likes to quote leftists, so I'll stick with one he appears to follow. Bill Maher said on a recent show that there is only one religion that will kill you or want you killed if you draw a cartoon of their prophet. He also asked a leftist guest if he thought that the Quran could be satirized on Broadway the same way that the Book of Mormon is currently. I think the answer to that is obvious.

We live in a great country founded on Judeo-Christian values. These same values ended slavery, by the way. If anyone has a problem with a religion, it's best to direct concerns to that religion specifically rather than lumping all religions together. I know some "nones" who would be pretty upset if they knew they were being compared to Christians and vice versa.

As far as faith joining slavery in the dustbin — it increasingly has. Our society is as secular as it has ever been in any time of our history. How's that workin' for ya?

SCOTT WALKER

Santa Rosa

Calling Houston

EDITOR: Would someone please ask the National Rifle Association celebrants in Houston whom they define as the mentally ill in need of timely intervention and help? Is it their fellow citizens who need the manic security of an assault weapon, pounds of ammunition and a new gun to fondle every month, or is it possibly their unsuspecting neighbors down the street who might be suffering from clinical depression or generalized anxiety disorder? Would an NRA advocate have any idea as to why many of our unarmed and free American citizenry might be suffering?

KAREN KELLAM

Santa Rosa

</>Under the oaks

EDITOR: Kudos to the entire Santa Rosa Junior College faculty for Sunday's outstanding Day Under the Oaks ("Back under the oaks," Monday). How very lucky our community is to have such a talented and diversified campus comprising both students and faculty.

The list of performances, tours and demonstrations is way too long to list here. We were there for five hours and definitely didn't see everything. It was five years since the last Day Under the Oaks, and let's hope we don't see a long interval like that again. At a time when our schools and colleges are under constant attack, it's so refreshing to experience all the positive vibes we enjoyed on Sunday.

JERRY QUIRK

Santa Rosa

Yeasty history

EDITOR: As somewhat of a cerevisaphile, I must take exception to the letter from Michael Rofkar ("Bitter brew," Sunday). Beer did not originate in Central Europe. It has been around for many thousands of years, and some of the earliest known writing is a 4,000-year-old Sumerian recipe for beer.

As for what beer "is and should be," please note that the only ingredients in both today's beer and the Sumerians' are water and yeast. Like Rofkar, I am not fond of the over-hopped styles, but to each his own, and isn't it wonderful that we have so many choices?

So many beers, so little time.

JOHN WOOLEY

Sebastopol